After a very long, healthy and active life Donald Adams Long left this world on February 12, 2018 in Yountville, California surrounded by his sons.
Don was born in Los Angeles, California on December 10th, 1923, the youngest son to Arthur and Pearl (Duncan) Long.
Don’s early childhood years were spent in Macfarlane, CA, where the family moved to do cotton farming, a business Don’s father had done previously in Oklahoma. The cotton industry and the family thrived in Macfarlane until the depression hit in 1929 and their cotton business ceased. Don’s father decided to move the family to Santa Ana and then finally to the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area is where Don stayed and raised his own family.
Following high school in San Jose, Don joined the Merchant Marines before marrying his sweetheart, Anne Plett, on July 18, 1942 in Reno, Nevada. Shortly after their marriage Don enlisted in the U.S. Navy on December 14, 1942 and entered Signal Visual Communication School in Los Angeles.
Don proudly served as a signalman during WWII on a picket destroyer, the USS Harry E. Hubbard. The Hubbard sat for over a year off the coast of Okinawa guarding against the Japanese aerial raids and kamikazes. Under fire many times, the Hubbard and crew survived the attacks and heroically protected the U.S. fleet.
Don was honorably discharged as a Signalman First class on November 29, 1945. Once home he was reunited with Anne and was able to meet his first-born son, Douglas, who was born while he was away. Shortly after his return, the family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where they would live out their lives. Don and Anne welcomed their second born, Robert, in 1947.
In 1948 after completing an apprenticeship in the “meat” business Don leased the “butcher department” at the Homer Market in Palo Alto, California. Don and Anne welcomed their third son, David, in 1950.
While building their business and raising three sons, Don and Anne relished free time hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1953, they purchased a large parcel in Ben Lomond along Love Creek as a future family “retreat”. This property became known simply as the “Cabin” and has been enjoyed by family and friends for many decades. .
Building on the business Don had created, in 1957, he opened Long’s Quality Foods, a full service supermarket located in Portola Valley. It was at “Long’s” that Don and Anne’s son’s worked during the summer.
Between the years of 1955 and 1965, Don and Anne purchased over 900 acres in the eastern “hillsides” of Napa Valley. Today this area is known as “Pritchard Hill”. They fell in love with the rolling hills and the studded oak trees that covered the property. “There was something about the way the light hit the hill” that Don found inspiring. He was in his “element” working side by side with his sons, building the infrastructure of what was to become “Long Ranch Road”. During those years, Don befriended the European born winemaker, Andre Tchelistcheff, the “father of American Winemaking” who advised him to plant vineyards on his hillside property as the French had been doing of thousand of years. Rocky fields were cleared, grapevines were planted and the family winery, David Arthur Vineyards was started in 1980 by Don’s son, David. In 2005, His son Robert, established Montagna Napa Valley, also on this Pritchard Hill property.
Don and Anne’s oldest son, Douglas continued the winemaking tradition. After many years in Napa Valley he moved to Washington and started Obelisco Estate, producing award winning wines from the “Red Mountain” AVA.
Don took pride in the life he had built with his family. He was proud of his sons, numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. They all are blessed with their own special memory with Don whether it was riding in his truck, going fishing, having a picnic or riding on the “Big Dipper” at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. He always took the time to let each one know how special they were and how much he loved them. His love and sense of humor brightened everyone’s lives until the very end.
He is preceded in death by his loving wife Anne, his oldest son Douglas Long (Betsy) and his brother Arthur Long (Maxine). He is survived by his sons, Robert and David, his seven grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and many loving nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Gary Sinese Foundation (garysinesefoundation.org), an organization that creates and supports programs recognizing veterans and first responders. In November 2017, Don had the opportunity to be a recipient of one of the Foundations programs, “Soaring Valor”, honoring WWII veterans.